Even without the Super Bowl, N.O. has reason to celebrate 2018 - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Even without the Super Bowl, N.O. has reason to celebrate 2018

Even without landing Super Bowl 52, New Orleans has much to celebrate as it turns 300 years old in 2018. The city plans to be more beautiful, more accessible and even more fit by its third century.

"There are a lot of fun things that we're looking to do, and we have about four years to finish it," said City Park CEO Bob Becker.

City Park's 2018 Master Plan, put in place just after Hurricane Katrina, outlines more than just a hurricane recovery effort. The goal is to build a better park.

"Katrina gave us the opportunity to go plead our case with the city and state and private donors, so we've been able to do things like build a brand new tennis complex, re-image the front part of the park," said Becker.

The Master Plan: City Park 2018 website lets viewers see updates - such as the planting of more than 5,000 trees, and learn what's coming up next - such as the building of a new gateway to the botanical garden.

"The best thing that could happen, though, would be to put it in a sound financial shape such that all the improvements that we've done can be well-maintained into the future," said Becker.

Maintaining park improvements, Becker said, ought to help with another city goal.

A release from the New Orleans Health Department in the summer of 2012 touts how the city combats one of its biggest public health problems. It says, "In 2018, New Orleans will celebrate its 300th anniversary by becoming a top-ten fittest city in the United States."

That will be an uphill battle. The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index found that New Orleans has one of the top five highest obesity rates in America.

"It's a big part of our plan is to promote healthy living, fight obesity, give people an opportunity to exercise and have a healthy lifestyle," said Becker.

Then, there's the birthday present at the top of the city's wish list: the new airport terminal.

In April 2013, Mayor Mitch Landrieu said, "it's going to have 32 gates, it's going to be closer to the interstate, it's going to be a lot easier to move around."

The $650 million terminal construction project will be complete in 2018.

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